Psychological correlates of gastric and duodenal ulcer disease were assessed in a group of somewhat older patients with ulcer disease identified by endoscopy. Associations between both ulcer types and symptom measures (anxiety and depression) seemed only to reflect severity or chronicity of gastrointestinal symptoms or the impending endoscopy procedure. Associations with ‘trait’ psychological indices may be of causal significance. Duodenal ulcer patients had higher ‘introversion’ and ‘psychoticism’ scores (on the EPQ) than controls, while gastric ulcer patients had higher psychoticism scores and ‘trait anxiety’ scores. These findings could not be attributed to confounding variables.
When the two ulcer groups were compared, the gastric ulcer group had significantly higher neuroticism, psychoticism and hostility scores which were not attributable to confounding variables. The higher depression scores in gastric ulcer patients, however, simply reflected the greater chronicity of their physical symptoms. The groups did not differ significantly on measures of trait anxiety, tension, introversion or Type A behaviour.